Dark Souls: 15 Most Evil Characters In The Franchise (2023)

Being RPGs, the Dark Souls games usually don't paint a fine line between good and evil. In fact, it can even be argued that the games' biggest villain is the protagonist, depending on the point of view. However, there are simply some bosses or NPCs that deserve the deepest circle in the Abyss for their immoral, inconsiderate, or infamous acts.

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Sure, most players would probably pick all enemies in Dark Soulsgames as evil scoundrels after making playthroughs too difficult, but let's be fair here. Some of those enemies were merely victims of circumstance or reluctant malefactors. The worst ones are those who knowingly and voluntarily did something deplorable and are unapologetic sociopaths about it. Particularly these guys – don't feel bad killing them again.

Updated March 28, 2022 by Sid Natividad: Several weeks after Elden Ring was released, people are probably craving for more of the same formula. Luckily, the Dark Souls franchise is always there and is ready to offer even more villains. These Dark Souls characters are darker than black and more despicable than even some of the most frustrating bosses.

Somehow, that's a testament to the strong yet subtle characterization of the Dark Souls trilogy. All Dark Souls villains have their own show-don't-tell personality and they pop out a lot more because of this. So for those going for a Dark Souls playthrough, watch out for these malefactors.

15 Seath The Scaleless

Dark Souls: 15 Most Evil Characters In The Franchise (1)
  • Appearance:Dark Souls
  • Crime: Betrayal, genocide, and immoral and disgusting biological experimentation

Seath the Scaleless was prominently featured in Dark Souls' intro and as early as that phase in the game, players will have already guessed that there's something wrong with him. Because apart from being a scaleless dragon, Seath got drunk on power and indulged in his perverse nature as he enjoyed his seat among Gwyn's allies

Seath has this disturbing predilection for maidens — "pure" maidens whom he uses to conduct his experiments. He even orders his cronies and minions to kidnap women for some twisted and obscure purpose — perhaps something that involves human-dragon hybrids. In any case, the fallout of Seath's experiments is scattered all over his laboratories and some of them are in a sorry state, begging to be killed.

14 Leonhard

Dark Souls: 15 Most Evil Characters In The Franchise (2)
  • Appearance:Dark Souls 3
  • Crime: Possible liaison with Darkwraiths, killing Rosaria, sowing chaos through invasions

There's always that one shady character hanging around in Firelink Shrine or the hub in a Souls game. That would be Leonhard in Dark Souls 3 and if it wasn't clear already, he doesn't want his intentions to be known or discerned by the Unkindled. So it can come as a shock that he kills Rosaria later on for some vague reasoning.


To that end, he's basically the Dark Souls 3 equivalent of Lautrec in Dark Souls. Moreover, Leonhard is the NPC who tells players to invade others just because they can. It's well known that invasions in Dark Souls games equate to a crime among the community, one that is always met with cold retribution.

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13 Petrus Of Thorolund

Dark Souls: 15 Most Evil Characters In The Franchise (3)
  • Appearance:Dark Souls
  • Crime: Masked dark intentions, betrayal

Petrus of Thorolund is a statement from Dark Souls that not all who don a holy guise are actually good people. He's a cleric who was tasked to escort and protect a noblewoman named Reah but it's implied that he ends up betraying her and leaving her for dead in some skeleton-infested cave or tomb.

Petrus even claimed that he wouldn't mind if the players "had their way" with Reah, meaning he was harboring some nasty thoughts about the poor defenseless woman. His appearance and demeanor just make it worse and he'll soon attack the players if they discover his true self.

12 Gwyn

Dark Souls: 15 Most Evil Characters In The Franchise (4)
  • Appearance:Dark Souls
  • Crime: Genocide, sacrificing countless souls to retain power, inadvertently creating a curse

One could argue that despite his radiant regality, Gwyn is one of the biggest offenders in Dark Souls. He's so obsessed with the Flame and with keeping his position of power that he wouldn't hesitate to burn his subjects and use them as kindling to prolong what remained of the Fire.

In doing so, Gwyn caused a curse to rise among the downtrodden population of Lordran. Eons prior to that, Gwyn also spearheaded the Genocide that erased all the dragons in existence and appointed Seath as a royal official, thereby condoning the pale dragon's depraved experiments.

11 The Players

Dark Souls: 15 Most Evil Characters In The Franchise (5)
  • Appearance: All Dark Souls games
  • Crime: Genocide, egomania, megalomania, cold-blooded murder, catalyzing an apocalypse

Let's not point fingers but remain blind to our own sins. Because in all three Dark Souls games (though more obviously in the first and third), the players are just as terrible as some of the most deplorable Dark Souls villains. Even if they didn't choose the Age of Dark ending, they will have continued what Gwyn was perpetuating, using people as kindling to prolong an era that should have been extinguished.

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And even before that, the players, in their existential journey to rise from their destitute status as a Hollow, will kill, betray, and lie their way to the top of the hierarchy. Everything the players are in all Dark Souls games is built on a foundation of the souls of once-innocent Hollows and beasts. Then again, that should've been obvious already from the moment they maimed and murdered a good and loyal dog for their souls and some keys.

10 Patches

Dark Souls: 15 Most Evil Characters In The Franchise (6)
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  • Appearance:Dark Souls, Dark Souls 3
  • Crime: Multiple betrayals, murder attempts, and theft.

Patches, whether he's Unbreakable, Trusty, or a Hyena, is the scum of the earth in any Dark Souls game. He notably appears in the first and third games and he's more than a troublemaker there. He's a menace who will introduce himself to the player as a friend and then stab them in the back immediately afterward.

He's not just hostile to the player but also to other benevolent NPCs. In Dark Souls 3, he even fooled Siegmeyer of Catarina and stole his armor to be more efficient with his friendly-backstabber facade. To make matters worse, he's incompetent at plotting his victims' downfall and usually fails.

9 Knight Lautrec Of Carim

Dark Souls: 15 Most Evil Characters In The Franchise (7)
  • Appearance:Dark Souls
  • Crime: Killing or planning to kill the Firekeeper.

Don't be fooled by the shiny and golden armor, Knight Lautrec of Carim is a nasty individual. He's capable of causing plenty of damage to one's playthrough as his goal is to kill the Firekeeper for what he thinks is right. That very well means he's the worst kind of evil because he's unaware of his villainous actions and even thinks his conduct is justified.

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Even before killing the Firekeeper, Lautrec's dialogue and manner of speech alone should be a telltale indication of his demeanor. He's also aware of some of the evil NPCs in the game (such as Petrus or Patches) and does nothing about them and even lets the player fall into their traps.

8 Darkstalker Kaathe

Dark Souls: 15 Most Evil Characters In The Franchise (8)
  • Appearance:Dark Souls
  • Crime: Orchestrating the downfall of a civilization and letting countless people die.

Two serpents in Dark Souls will try to wrestle with the player's morals. One of them is Kingmaker Frampt and the other is Darkstalker Kaathe. It should be pretty obvious who's up to no good. Kaathe, from the very beginning, has been plotting to unleash Manus and the power of the Abyss in Anor Londo.

In fact, he and his Darkwraiths are even responsible for the bad things that happened in New Londo. It's not just New Londo he ruined but also Oolacile. In Dark Souls' timeline, Kaathe now wants to manipulate the player into ruining what remains of Anor Londo as well.

7 Manus

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  • Appearance:Dark Souls
  • Crime: Consuming multiple kingdoms and killing people through the Abyss.

The general lore consensus is that Manus is the Furtive Pygmy and is the bearer of the Dark Soul. How and why this compels him to be a one-sided force of destruction and literal darkness remains puzzling but one thing is for certain: he should never be allowed near any kingdom.

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He's the Father of the Abyss and yearns to spread that void into all living and warm things. Through Kaathe, he has succeeded on multiple attempts, namely Oolacile and New Londo. Moreover, those he cannot outright destroy, he corrupts and turns into mindless, berserk husks of their former selves. That's pure chaotic evil.

6 Executioner Smough

Dark Souls: 15 Most Evil Characters In The Franchise (10)
  • Appearance:Dark Souls
  • Crime: Cannibalism, sadism, and betrayal.

Gwyn liked to keep Smough around because he's one of the most loyal knights in Anor Londo. Along with Ornstein, he's one of the few knights who remained to guard the throne and keep things in order. Except, he helps himself to some of the transgressors, usually grinding their bones and then adding the dust to his diet.

Even before things went bad in Anor Londo or Lordran, Smough had a reputation for torturing his victims and eating their remains. That's why he was never promoted to Ornstein's status. When Ornstein dies first in the boss fight, Smough even sadistically smashes the remaining life out of his comrade to absorb his power. He could have taken poor Ornstein to the hospital first if he actually cared.

5 Nashandra

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  • Appearance:Dark Souls 2
  • Crime: Manipulating King Vendrick and orchestrating the murder of countless lives through a war, and betrayal.

Nashandra is Dark Souls 2's final boss and she's a stereotypical evil queen straight out of a Disney movie. Initially, she posed as a beautiful bride who appeared to have good intentions. After getting married to King Vendrick of Drangleic, he gradually compelled him into attacking the land of the giants and causing a war.

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This sparked off a series of retaliations that plunged Drangleic into darkness, primed for taking by the Abyss. As it turns out, Nashandra was one of the Manus' offspring. All along her plan was to weaken Drangleic and make the job easier for the Abyss.

4 Archdeacon McDonnell/Royce

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  • Appearance:Dark Souls 3
  • Crime: Sacrificing countless victims to be consumed by Aldrich.

One could amorally argue that if their religion is based on ritual sacrifice, deaths by hundreds of thousands or possibly millions are justified. But if those victims are hapless and unwilling in the first place, then there's something terribly wrong with that culture. Such is the case in Dark Souls 3 and its Archdeacons.

McDonnell, Royce, and many others led countless lives to their temples and churches for Aldrich to consume and kill. They did all this believing in something they thought was productive and right for their kingdom and their king. At this point, the Ashen One swooping in and murdering everyone is an act of salvation.

3 Aldrich

Dark Souls: 15 Most Evil Characters In The Franchise (13)
  • Appearance:Dark Souls 3
  • Crime: Consuming everyone and everything in Anor Londo.

The lore for Aldrich was quite common as far as Dark Souls literature goes. It's common for an evil being to just consume every creature indiscriminately until they turn into an indiscernible monster themselves. In this case, Aldrich became the physical manifestation of the Abyss.

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To make matters worse, he/she/it had lots of worshippers who would only give him more fuel to devour. At some point, Aldrich probably ran out of regular citizens and had to shift his appetite to Anor Londo's gods. That explains his freaky but familiar appearance in the third game.

2 Pontiff Sulyvahn

Dark Souls: 15 Most Evil Characters In The Franchise (14)
  • Appearance:Dark Souls 3
  • Crime: Slavery, forced mutations and commanding the sacrifice for Aldrich.

Pontiff Sulyvahn is by far the most wicked out of all the Dark Souls series tyrants as his actions alone have turned Irithyll of the Boreal Valley into a frigid wasteland of mutants, slaves, and victims. He forced his knights to become monsters and enslaved too many innocents.

Moreover, he was the one who gave massive support and lives to the Archdeacons so that Aldrich remained fed. Pontiff Sulyvahn also worships Aldrich and also forced his followers, slaves, and soldiers to do the same. To make matters worse, he's also a tough boss to kill.

1 Sister Friede

Dark Souls: 15 Most Evil Characters In The Franchise (15)
  • Appearance:Dark Souls 3
  • Crime: Manipulating Father Ariandel, inciting a Corvian Knight massacre in the Painted World, and letting rot consume the place.

Upon meeting Sister Friede for the first time, it's already clear that she's hiding something big and sinister. Her gestures and dismissive warnings tend to telegraph her schemes. Sure enough, she was out to vandalize the Painted World into her own twisted and rotting image of a home.

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The Painted World was supposed to be a home for the forlorn – for souls who had no place to go. Then along came Friede, a failure of an Ashen One, to ruin everything in the Painted World, letting it rot instead of allowing Ariandel to facilitate burning it away so it could start anew. The result is that this deceptive nun caused more suffering for denizens who have already suffered enough.



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